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Structural Modeling and Reliability Analysis Group
Marry Engineering with Statistics for Uncertainty Quantification
(new site:


Dr. Yong Li

Assistant Professor

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada


Phone: 780.492.2722

Dr. Li is fascinated in developing and applying (1) mechanics-based advanced structural models,  and (2) probabilistic and statistical methods to engineering risk/reliability problems in the field of structural engineering. This serves to assist decision-making in the process of probability-based design, retrofit, and maintenance of a wide range of structures (e.g., concrete bridges, masonry buildings, steel pipelines, etc.) in the face of uncertainty. He is also interested in inverse engineering problems (e.g., structural design optimization in earthquake engineering, nonlinear FE model updating using field-recorded and experimental data, data-driven model learning problems, probabilistic diagnosis and prognosis for structural system and mechanical equipment).


Ph.D. in Structural Engineering, UC San Digo

M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics, UC San Diego

M.Sc. in Civil Engineering, Tsinghua University

Professional Experience

Postdoctoral Fellow, UC San Diego

Assistant Professor, University of Alberta

Professional Associations

Director of Institute of Interdisciplinary Scientists 

Faculty member of Steel Center at UoA

Faculty member of Masonry Center at UoA


  • Structural and geotechnical earthquake engineering: performance-based engineering, design optimization for structures with innovative devices (e.g., isolation, dampers, etc.)

  • Mechanics-based ​​nonlinear​ ​FE modeling: Concrete/masonry/steel bridge/building structures, pipelines, soil-structure-interaction, etc.

  • Probabilistic modeling: Stochastic modeling of natural hazard​​ loads, traffic loads, deterioration processes, etc.

  • Structural reliability and risk: Uncertainty propagation, risk quantification, probability-based code calibration and design optimization.

  • System identification: Statistical structural health monitoring, nonlinear finite element model updating, etc.

  • Bayesian statistical methods: Bayesian model calibration, validation with error assessment, and uncertainty quantification

  • Performance assessment, diagnostics, prognosis of degraded systems: Structural deterioration (corrosion), fatigue, etc.

Research Interests
Research Projects

Startup Project

Research on accurate and efficient techniques for structural modeling and reliability analysis, 2017 - 2021 ($100,000, PI)

NSERC Discovery Project

Probabilistic seismic performance assessment and risk-informed retrofit for aged bridge structures, 2017 - 2022 ($110,000, PI)

Alberta Transportation Project

Experimental and analytical prediction of load carrying capacity of prestressed concrete girders salvaged from a 27 -year-old bridge, 2018 - 2022 ($265,000, PI)


Resilient concrete masonry walls to meet the needs for the next generation of low-rise

structures, 2018-2022 ($900,000, co-PI)

CISC Project

Test-based Design Method for Steel Cantilever Beams, 2018 - 2019 ($90,000, co-PI)

High-speed Rail Bridge Project

Probabilistic performance-based optimum seismic design of seismic isolation for a California High-speed Rail prototype bridge, 2011 - 2014

PEER Project

Stochastic earthquake ground motion models and investigation of the effects of nonstationary frequency contents on linear systems, 2015 - 2016

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CIV E 295 Civil Engr. Analysis
(Winter Term)

This course aims to cover the fundamental numerical  analysis methods to solve civil engineering problems. It is primarily designed for undergraduate students, who are interested in enhance their problem solving skills by self-implemented computer programs or available computer tools.

CIV E 372 Structural Analysis
(Fall Term)

This course aims to cover the principles of classical structural analysis and help students build engineering intuitions about structures. It is primarily designed for undergraduate students, who are interested in: (1) taking advanced structural analysis and design courses in the coming terms; and (2) seeking an industry position with required professional skills on design, modeling, and analysis.

CIV E 660 Advanced Structural Analysis (Fall Term)

This course aims to cover the principles of modern matrix structural analysis of frame structures in Finite Element software packages. It is primarily designed for graduate students, who are interested in: (1) conducting research related to the safety evaluation of various frame structures; and (2) seeking for a job position with required professional skills on design, modeling, analysis, and computer programming.

Structural Dynamics——Humar.jpg
CIV E 661 Dynamics of Structures (Winter Term)

This course aims to cover both the dynamic problem formulation (using Newtonian mechanics and analytical mechanics) and various solution algorithms for free vibration (i.e., eigenvalue) and forced vibration (i.e., closed-form analytical solutions, approximate and numerical solutions, frequency-domain solutions). It is primarily designed for graduate students, who are interested in dynamic behavior of discrete or continuous systems.

CIV E 779 Structural Reliability (Winter Term)

This course aims to cover both the theoretical and computational aspects of modern structural reliability and risk analysis. It is primarily designed for graduate students, who are interested in: (1) seeking for a deeper understanding of design standards or codes with a probabilistic basis; (2) conducting research on solving various engineering problems in the face of uncertainty; and (3) seeking a career in engineering risk.

Teaching at other universities:


2018/06/04 - 2018/06/11, Guest Instructor, Peking University, Beijing, China

Department: The State Key Laboratory for Turbulence and Complex Systems (LTCS), College of Engineering

Course Title: Structural Reliability Methods (I)

Course Level: Graduate

2010/09/22 - 2010/12/10, Instructor, University of California, San Diego, US

Department: Structural Engineering
Course Title: SE 125: Statistics, Probability, and Reliability Analysis
Course Level: Undergraduate

2012/11/10 -2012/12/10, Assistant Teacher, University of Pavia, ROSE School, Pavia, Italy
Course Title: Seismic Response and Nonlinear Structural Analysis
Course Level: Graduate



(Selected Journals)

Earthquake engineering, seismic isolation, nuclear power plant

Hou, G., Li, M., Hai, S., Song, T.,  Wu, L., Li, Y.,  Zheng, G.,  Shen, F., Chen, Y "Innovative seismic resistant structure of shield building with base isolation and tuned-mass-damping for AP1000 nuclear power plants". Engineering Computations, 2019

January 01, 2020

Earthquake engineering, steel pipeline

Liu, X., Zhang, H, Wu, K., Xia, M., Zheng, Q., Li, Y., Ndubuaku, O., Adeeb, S. "A refined analytical strain analysis method for offshore pipeline under strike-slip fault movement considering strain hardening effect of steel". Ships and Offshore Structures, 2019

January 01, 2020

Parameter estimation, data analysis, model simplifcation, building energy

​Wang, Z., Chen, Y.X., Li, Y. "Development of RC model for thermal dynamic analysis of buildings through model structure simplification". Energy and Buildings, 2019

January 01, 2020

Finite element model, model accuracy, steel pipeline

Ndubuakua, O., Li, Y., Cheng, R., Martens, M., Adeeb, S. "A semi-empirical modeling approach for predicting the deformational capacity of axially-compressed cylindrical shells based on a novel material stress-strain characterization method". Thin-Walled Structures, 2019

Finite element model, Bayesian updating, parameter estimation

Astroza, R., Barrientos, B.,  Li, Y.,  Flores, E.S., and Liu, Z.N.  "Bayesian updating of complex nonlinear FE models with high-dimensional parameter space using heterogeneous measurements and a batch-recursive approach". Engineering Structures, 2019 (Under Revision)

Railway bridge, existing structures, strengthening

Chen, L.K., He, W.L., Li, Q., Cao, D.F., Wang, K., Ling, L., Zhu, S.Y., Li, Y., Luo, J.Z. "Assessment of the Strengthening of Existing Benchmark Monorail Railway Bridge: A Case Study of a Generic Method for Lateral Reinforcement". Journal of Structural Engineering International, 2019

Soil-pile-structure interaction, liquefaction, fragility analysis

Su, L., Wan, H.P.,Bi, K.M., Li, Y., Ling, X.Z., Lu, J.C., Elgamal, A., Arulmoli, A.K. "Seismic fragility analysis of pile-supported wharves with the influence of soil permeability". Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 2019

Concrete strutures, shear wall, finite element

Sun, B.Y., Gu, Q., Zhang, P.Z., Li, Y., Ou, J.P.,  "Efficient simulation of RC shear walls in high-rise buildings using a practical multi-cross-line-model", Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 2019

Geotechnical engineering, soil-pile-structure interaction, finite element simulation, sensitvity analysis

Su, L., Wan, H.P., Abtahi S., Li, Y., Ling, X.Z., "Comprehensive investigation of soil-pile-structure system subjected to lateral spreading: shaking table test and parallel finite element simulation", Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 2019

Sensitivity analysis, finite element, discrete element, concrete structures, multi-scale analysis

Gu Q., Wang L., Li Y., Deng XW. "Multi-scale response sensitivity analysis based on direct differentiation method for concrete structures".  Composites Part B, 2018

Machine learning, decision making, data analysis, decision tree

Ghaneei M., Komeili A., Li Y., Parent E., Adeeb S.  "3D markerless asymmetry analysis in the management of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis". BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2018

Numerical modeling, GFRP, reinforced concrete

Ghazizadeh, S., Cruz Noguez, C., Li, Y., "Numerical study of hybrid GFRP-steel reinforced concrete shear walls and SFRC walls", Engineering Structures, 2018. 

Steel, lateral torsional buckling

Koch, J., Driver, Robert; Li, Y., Manarin, M., "Evaluation of CSA S16-14 Asymmetry Parameter for Singly-symmetric Beams", Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 2018. 

Steel pipeline, seismic fault movement

Liu, XB, Zhang, H., Ndubuaku, O., Xia, M.,  Chen, Y., Cheng, JJ.,  Li Y., Adeeb, S. "Effects of Stress-strain Characteristics on Local Buckling of X80 Pipe Subjected to Strike-Slip Fault Movement", Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology, 2018. 

Probabilistic performance, earthquake engineering, high-speed rail bridge

Li, Y. and Conte, J.P., "Probabilistic Evaluation of Seismic Isolation Effects for a California High-Speed Rail Prototype Bridge", Journal of Structural Engineering, 2019. 

Probabilsitc performance, optimization, earthquake engineering

Li, Y., Conte, J.P., Gill, P.E., Probabilistic Performance-based Optimum Seismic Design of Structures: Illustration and Validation", Computer Modeling in Engineering and Sciences, 2019. 

Finite element, sensitivity analysis, soil-structure-interaction, earthquake engineering

Gu, Q., Liu, Y., Li, Y. (corresponding author), and Lin, C., "Finite Element Response Sensitivity Analysis of Three-dimensional Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction (SFSI) Systems", Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration, 2018.

Shake table test, soil-pile-structure interaction, liquefaction, sensivity analysis

Su, L., Wan, H.P., Li, Y., Ling, X.Z., "Soil-pile-quay wall system with liquefaction-induced lateral spreading: experimental investigation, numerical simulation, and global sensitivity analysis", Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 2018.

Probabilistic performance, optimization, seismic isolation, high-speed rail bridge

Li, Y. and Conte, J.P., "Probabilistic Performance-based Optimum Seismic Design of Seismic Isolation for California High-speed Rail Prototype Bridge", Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 2017.

Nonlinear FE model updating, Isolated bridge, earthquake engineering

Li, Y., Astroza, R., Conte, J.P., and Soto, P., "Nonlinear Finite Element Model Updating and Reconstruction of the Response of an Instrumented Isolated Bridge Subjected to the 2010 Maule Earthquake", Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, DOI:10.1002/eqe.2925, 2017.

Finite element, sensitivity, plane problems, dam piers, steel plate

Li, Y., Huang, S., Lin, C., Gu, Q., and Qiu, Z., "Response Sensitivity Analysis for Plastic Plane Problems based on Direct Differentiation Method", Computers and Structures 182,392-403, 2017.

Bayesian filtering, FE model updating, damage identification, kalman filter

Astroza, R., Ebrahimian, H., Li, Y., and Conte, J.P., "Bayesian Nonlinear Structural FE Model Updating for Damage Identification of  Civil Structures Subjected to Unknown Inputs", Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 93, 661-687, 2017.

Seismic isolation, high-speed rail bridge, numerical modeling, soil-structure-track interaction

Li, Y., and Conte, J.P., "Effects of Seismic Isolation on the Seismic Response of a California High-Speed Rail Prototype  Bridge with Soil-Structure and Track-Structure Interaction", Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics,  2016.

Stochastic process, earthquake ground motion model, random vibration, closed-form solution

Li, Y.,  Conte, J.P. and Barbato, M., "Influence of the Time-Varying Frequency Content in Earthquake Ground Motions on Seismic Response of Linear Elastic Systems", Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 2016.

Earthquake engineering, glass curtain wall, cable net

Shi, Y.J., Li, Y., and Wang, Y.Q., "Practical Aseismic Analysis Method for Point-supported Glass Curtain Wall with Single-layer Cable Net", Building Structure 25(7), (in Chinese), 2010.

Earthquake engineering, glass curtain wall, cable net, primary-secondary structural interaction

Li, Y., Shi, Y.J., and Wang, Y.Q., "Analysis of the Seismic Response of Single-layer Cable Net in Glass Wall Coupled with Main Structure", Building Science, (in Chinese), 2010.

Earthquake engineering, glass curtain wall, cable net, multiple-support exciation

Shi, Y.J., Li, Y., and Wang, Y.Q., "Discussion of Analysis Method of the Seismic Response of Point-Supported Facade with Multi-Point Input of Primary Structure", Engineering Mechanics, 27(11), (in Chinese), 2010.

Earthquake engineering, glass curtain wall, cable net, geometrical nonlinearity

Li, Y., Shi, Y.J., and Wang, Y.Q., "Research on Nonlinearity in Seismic Response of Cable Net in Point-supporting Glass Wall", Journal of Vibration and Shock 10, 31-35, (in Chinese), 2010.

Earthquake engineering, glass curtain wall, cable net

Li, Y., Shi, Y.J., and Wang, Y.Q., "Analysis of the Seismic Response of Single-layer Cable Net in Glass Wall Coupled with Main Structure", Building Science, (in Chinese), 2009.

Earthquake engineering, glass curtain wall, cable net

Li, Y., Shi, Y.J., and Wang, Y.Q., "Study on Seismic Design Method of Single-layer Cable Net Structures for Point-supporting Glass Wall for Beijing Tucheng Telephone Exchange", Earthquake Resistant Engineering and Retrofitting 32(2), 112-117, (in Chinese), 2009.

Earthquake engineering, glass curtain wall, cable net

Li, Y., Shi, Y.J., and Wang, Y.Q., "Seismic Action on Single-layer Cable Net Structures", Industrial Construction Supplement, (in Chinese), 2008.

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Email & Phone:

Tel: 780-492-2722


6-259 Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering, 9211-116 St.
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 1H9

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